The Mac mini is the smallest and cheapest Mac you can buy. In the Mac family, the mini is a bit of an odd one out: it comes without a monitor, keyboard or mouse. The Mac mini was thoroughly updated in 2020 and is one of the first generation of Macs with Apple’s own M1 chip. Here’s what you need to know about the new Mac mini.
Mac mini (M1, 2020) summarized
- Announcement on November 10, 2020
- First generation Macs with M1 chip
- 2 USB-C connections, 1x HDMI, 1x Ethernet and 2x USB-A ports
- Cheapest Mac (but without peripherals)
- Shipped with macOS Big Sur
Mac mini with M1 chip
The Mac mini has an M1 chip with eight cores. According to Apple, this ensures that the CPU of the compact Mac is up to three times faster than the Mac mini of the previous generation (with four cores), from 2018. When it comes to graphics performance (GPU), the mini does it. even six times better. Machine learning tasks are also up to 15 times faster than before.
What does this mean in concrete terms? Apple says the Mac mini increases a photo’s resolution up to 15 times faster in Pixelmator Pro, renders up to six times faster in a complex timeline in Final Cut Pro, and achieves up to four times faster frame rates in graphics-intensive games.
In addition to the better performance, the M1 chip brings the Secure Enclave with it. This allows the Mac mini to store sensitive data on a portion of the hardware that is physically separated from the rest of the system. This provides extra good security.
The mini is one of Apple’s three desktop computers; you also have the iMac and the Mac Pro. On the outside, the Mac mini retains the same iconic design as the mini it replaced. That means that it measures 19.7 x 19.7 cm. Mac minis are used as servers in many businesses, where they are linked together in droves, in ready-made cabinets made especially for Mac minis. It is great that the new model fits seamlessly in between.
What has changed is a new thermal design. This allows the computer to remain cool and quiet even under long-term heavy loads.
The connections are also new. That has become less. Four times Thunderbolt 3 has made way for twice Thunderbolt / USB 4. Although it is a new generation of USB and Thunderbolt, the differences between the connections are minimal. For example, transferring data is just as fast.
The other ports have remained unchanged: the silver-colored Mac mini has one HDMI, one Ethernet and two USB-A ports. It supports up to two external monitors. Wifi 6 is available for the first time, enabling a faster wireless internet connection. 10 gigabit Ethernet is no longer available as an upgrade option.
- Release: November 2020
- Chip: Apple M1 Chip – 8-core CPU (with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores), 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine)
- Operating system: macOS
- Random access memory: 8 GB central memory (expandable to 16 GB)
- Storage: 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB
- Dimensions: Height: 3.6 cm; Width: 19.7 cm; Depth: 19.7 cm
- Weight: 1.2 kg
- Wireless: 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 provision, bluetooth 5.0
- Connections: Two Thunderbolt (USB ‑ C) ports with support for DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40 Gb / s) and USB 3.1 (2nd gen, up to 10 Gb / s). In addition: 2 USB-A ports, HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet port, mini-jack connection.
- Audio: built-in speaker
Do you still have nothing from Apple and do you want a Mac on your desk, but do you already have all the peripherals? Then the Mac mini is the cheapest way to a brand new Mac.
The M1 chip makes the Mac mini a big step forward, but that is certainly not reflected in the price. It starts at 799 euros, with which Apple has made the Mac mini 130 euros cheaper. By default you get 256 GB SSD storage and you can expand this to 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB. The RAM starts at 8 GB, but the Mac mini can also be configured with a memory of 16 GB. You buy the Mac mini from Apple, among others, Coolblue and Amac.